Archive for January, 2009



16
Jan
09

Rejection letters are now advising to give up all hope of getting a job

I received a letter this morning in response to a job application at a Carlow radio station. As I made the application many months ago I had long since abandoned any chance of getting the job, so I was somewhat surprised to get this letter.

Sure enough, it was the usual “thank you for your interest, we’ll keep your CV on file” bullshit. It did, however, offer some explanation on why I wasn’t offered a position. “In light of the present economic climate we have decided to fill the position from within our existing staff,” read the letter. Well, in light of the present economic climate, I can’t help but feel this is a massive slap in the face. Not only do we face massive competition for jobs from the thousands that have been hurled onto dole queues in recent times, we now have to contend with the few positions that are available being filled in-house.

Fair enough, the writer of this letter was only being honest. Radio stations are facing a loss of revenue just like everyone else and they have to watch their own bottom line. All the same, a bit of diplomacy might have helped. Is it too much to expect some consideration for those of us who have been most affected by this recession. I would have felt better had the writer of this letter never bothered their arse to send it to me.

15
Jan
09

Media matters and Kerry’s weight

I was browsing around the newsagents in Superquinn today when I noticed that Kerry Katona had made the front pages of a number of publications. Both OK and Star magazine had cover stories on Kerry’s fabulous weight loss. The Daily Mirror had a somewhat different Kerry angle, reporting that she has evicted her own mother from her home in order to pay off a massive tax debt.

Now I’m not in the business of pointing and laughing at celebrities for having breakdowns in a very public way (see here for more evidence of Charlie Brooker being right about everything). Besides, if we slap a hate-figure label on Kerry we effectively assume a goodie tag on Brian McFadden, and that simply wont do. Nonetheless, the weight issue is worth discussing for one reason. Star magazine declared that Kerry has lost four stone. OK topped this by claiming it was six. Plastered on the two magazine, in big, bold typeface for all to see, are two very different figures (numbers-wise, I mean).

Now if I were a cynical man I might reach the conclusion that celebrity magazines are less than reputable; that they’re just making it all up. Further inspection might discount this explaination, however. Both OK and Star are owned by Northern and Shell Media Publications, so surely two arms of the one company would want to liaise with each other to avoid such embarrassing discrepancies. Even celebrity magazines wouldn’t be so feckless with the truth, right?

No, the answer to this conundrum lies as I see it with deadlines. This particular issue of Star, you see, was dated January 19, whereas OK was dated the 20th. So, obviously, in the 24 hours that lies between each magazine’s deadline Ms Katona went and lost a further two stone. What a trooper.

In a related story, my 15 year old sister lost over a stone while spending Christmas in the States. As she is by no means over-weight, my aunts – with whom she was staying – fretted that she might be anorexic. The truth, happily, is that my sister simply couldn’t stomach the artificial-tasting food across the pond (which I can understand). Her eating habits are fine. Still, with the dick-swinging reporting of celebrities and their weight, would it be any surprise if my sister were anorexic.

14
Jan
09

My cover letter to Cardinal Seán Brady

Dear Cardinal Brady,

I’m writing to you to apply for the position of Bishop of Cloyne, as advertised by most reasonably intelligent people over the last couple of months.

I have been listening carefully to the qualities you regard as suitable for the role, and I’ve come to realise I just might be the best man for the job. I am a dependable team player, I have an amicable personality that will charm the socks off parishioners, and I know how to keep a secret or two.

Now I am a lay-person, and as such you might think my opinion doesn’t matter, but bear with me and you just might learn something. As you will note from my attached CV, I have spent many years in a Catholic institution (Carriglea NS). While in this institution I learned that the Church’s word is gospel. Therefore, should any priest feel the need to tell me anything saucy, I know that his position goes above that of the law, the gardaí, or the “victim”.

As for my credentials, I note that “to keep safeguarding [children] at the top of the list of priorities” is a quality you deem necessary for the role. If a bishop who knew in 1995 that particular priest may be a serial rapist and didn’t inform the authorities until a decade later can be credited with keeping the safeguarding of children at the top of the list of priorities, and also be credited with publishing a report into the affair after spending six month threatening legal action to prevent its publication, then I can be credited with being a proper member of the clergy, being a committed celibate, and giving a flying fuck about the Catholic Church.

Now I’m fully aware that you feel the position isn’t vacant and that Bishop Magee is best suited to the role. It seems you consider his mistakes to speak in his favour. “I think he has learned a very painful lesson and I think that he will do everything in his power to make sure that this terrible thing does not happen again in his diocese,” you said. It seems to me that his most painful “lesson” was getting caught. Still, how can I – or any right-minded person – hope to have had so many lessons.

But I ask you to remember how hysterical the public get over little matters like priests being knowingly allowed to rape children. Remember the damage this has done to the Catholic Church in this country over the last decade (or at least the damage it would have done if the Government didn’t know what side its bread is buttered on). Now try to imagine the damage that will be done if this position doesn’t become vacant soon. Do you really think there’s any coming back from that?

I have attached references that vouch for me as dependable, and when I say dependable I mean it in as far as those who brought complaints against priests to Bishop Magee found him to be “dependable”.

Yours faithfully (you know what faithful means, right?)

The Unemployed Blog.

13
Jan
09

Irish Blog Awards 2009

Just sent off me nominations for this year’s awards. You should too if you haven’t yet. Nominations are here (No, I’m not canvassing. Not at all).

10
Jan
09

Economists need to shut the fuck up

They’re at it again. Today’s Irish Times has a piece about how economists are predicting 10% jobless rates by the middle of the year. Fás economist Brian McCormick went even further, saying we’ll reach 12% by the end of 2009. He warned, “the immediate future for the jobs market depended on the impact of a weak sterling and the credit crunch on the retail sector, as well as the way in which migration trends respond to the changes in the economic environment,” which pulls the simultaneous trick of sounding suitably dire and blaming the immigrants for it. The Indo has a similar piece, which states, “Some economists secretly admitted that their official estimates could be conservative and jobless queues may reach levels not seen since the 1980s.” It’s enough to wonder why we bother getting out of bed.

Well, you know what? Fuck them! The one thing I’ve learn from this whole recession is that there’s nothing quite so useless as an economist. These are the swaggering dickheads who failed to see the recession coming, and let the government get away with wasting money on services that don’t work, giving tax breaks to the country’s super-rich, criminally inflating the housing market, and generally take us all of a fantastic voyage on the good ship “Celtic Tiger”, which sunk like a stone after the first strike of an ice-cube (explained here better than I ever could). If these economists advised banks to invest their (our) money in an online casino they’d have been laughed out of a job. This, on reflection, would have been a far safer option. At least online gambling doesn’t create massive – and quite unmistakable – market bubbles. Ok, there were some economists warning of a possible crisis, but the ease with which these few voices of sanity were ignored largely proves my point that all economists useless. Remember when Bertie suggested that people warning of an economic slowdown should kill themselves and be done with it? I’d love to know what the miserable tit-bag makes of that comment now.

So, now that we’re in the middle of a slump that these knobjockeys helped lead us to, they’re trying to make us feel worse by convincing us there’s no way out of it anytime soon. Well, they can shove their predictions up their holes, because it seems to me that their only talent is to tell us what’s currently happening, like a weatherman who operates by looking out the window and saying, “bit cloudy, might rain.” It also seems to me that reinforcing a constant message that “your job isn’t safe” will undermine consumer confidence further and make the whole thing worse. For all we know (and when I say “we” I’m including economists) the economy might turn around in a month’s time and we’ll wonder what the fuss was about.

Ok, that’s probably not going to happen. All the same, there’s not much use in worrying about it too much, which is what these dicksplashes seem to want, and they don’t expect to be questioned on this because they’re economists and that means they’re experts and know what they’re talking about. The media has given these cunts a free ride for their failures, but there’ll be none of that here. I’m not going to feel bad because they want me to (angry, maybe, but not bad).

09
Jan
09

I liked Looseville before it was cool to like Looseville

I’ve noticed that Alan Moloney’s rather tasty web comic has been getting some attention recently. Alan has previously sent some traffic my way with some links to me on his site. It’s a favour I’ve tried to return, but my contribution is likely to be blown out of the water now that Damien and the Indo has recognised his talents.

It is fantastic to see such a great site get the attention it deserves. Alan is also a rather nice guy, so I’m sure – despite his most recent cartoon – it’s not going to go to his head. Well done, horse. Keep up the good work.

09
Jan
09

Who the fuck is Chris Brown?

I was wandering around the Grand Canal Quay this evening when I came to realise I was completely surrounded by obnoxious teenagers. They had the place infested, so they did. I was beginning to suspect the last rations of fake tan and Bacardi Breezers were coming into the port, but no, they were there to see some lad by the name of “Chris Brown”. Apparently he was “playing” a “gig” at “the O2” (ok, I’m being unnecessarily sarcastic with those quotation marks. Still, it doesn’t matter how much money O2 gave some developer, everyone in Dublin refers to it as the Point and will continue to do so for some time yet).

I like to think I have my finger on the pulse of popular culture, so this put me in my place. This fucker swans into the country dragging behind him a cortège of haircuts and I don’t have the first fucking idea who he is. How could this pop sensation pass me by completely?

I think what’s bothering me the most is that I’ve been forced to realise I’m old, and that the generation with the authority to decide what’s cool is no longer my generation. Also, I can no longer moan about having never heard of the people who turn up on Celebrity Big Brother.

08
Jan
09

A sweet, uncynical story for a bitter, cynical age

I read this wee story about a Pixar’s Wall-E and I just had to share it. In fact, I was fighting hard to hold back the tears mysef while reading it.

H/T to Tom Phillip

07
Jan
09

In praise of: Sean Moncrieff

I’ve noticed that the posts here that get the best reaction and generate the most traffic are the ones where I’m bemoaning some unimportant psuedo-outrage. I’m currently getting a lot of attention due to my Beverly Flynn post, which although I think expresses a valid point does have an air of holier than thou about it. I also attracted much traffic with my Gillian McKeith rant, and my most popular post by far is my pathetic attempt to tell Declan Ganley to go fuck himself. Now while I’m grateful for the attention, I can’t say I’m entirely happy about his. I’m really not a negative person in real life, and I didn’t start this blog to be another Twenty Major wannabe.

It is for is reason that I’m writing this post, with a mind to it becoming a regular category where I just talk about something I really like. In this episode, Sean Moncrieff.

When Newstalk gave Sean Moncrieff  an afternoon slot, it was clearly a naked attempted to cash in on the popularity of Ray D’arcy’s show on Today FM, that being a light-hearted show where people engage in Seinfeld-esque conversations about kitschy topic that in the grand scheme of things are ultimately unimportant in every conceivable way. I find it easy to forgive Moncrieff, however, as his presentation and interview style is just so pleasant and agenda-free that it’s a joy to let him into our homes every mid-afternoon. This is in contrast to, say, the oh-so media tarty smugness of The Ray D’arcy Show.

I know I said this was to be a positive post, but I’ve levelled a fairly serious charge there and I feel I should back it up. I recall once being forced to listen to D’arcy while in a doctor’s waiting room (actually, it was an STI clinic, but I wasn’t there because I was worried about anything. I was just, you know, making sure). Kildare’s favourite son was interviewing Bill O’Herlihy, and building up Bill’s status as a ‘legend’ so much that I began to wonder if D’arcy was getting off on it. Anyway, one of the question asked of Bill was, “What’s the secret of your success?” followed by, “hang on, wait till I go to a break and tell me then.” Now I studied radio broadcasting in college (under the caring guidance of Galway Bay FM’s Bernadette Prendergast), and I was repeatedly informed during this course that the golden rule of broadcasting is “do not alienate the listener”. If I tried a stunt like “wait until we’re off the air so we can have a proper chat” Prendy would have kick me out of the class, and rightly so. It’s different for Ray thought because, well, he’s Ray. This exemplifies a self-satisfied smugness with D’arcy that can also be seen when he suddenly thinks he’s Jeremy Paxman and starts harassing interviewees who offend his sensibilities, with his belief that he’s allowed to say “fuck” on air whenever he likes, or when he was doing Blackboard Jungle and would tell all-female teams, “you did very well on sport, considering you’re girls.”

Back to things I like. Moncrieff on Newstalk wins out because the host’s ability interview and discuss topics without being overly judgemental. He knows the show isn’t meant to be taken too seriously, and thus avoids taking himself too seriously. He’s also a naturally funny guy, and can take piss out of most topics without betraying his own agenda.

This being said, Moncrieff’s broadcast career hasn’t been a series of hits. He has been involved in enough shitty television for even Gerry Ryan to say “jaysus, that’s shockin'” He’s perhaps best know for Don’t Feed the Gondolas, which although was often quite hilarious, couldn’t avoided the fact that it was a rip-off of far better BBC comedy quiz shows (it was also the show that made Brendan O’Connor a household name, an unforgivable sin). There was also that weird game show where couples competed to win a house, and perhaps worst of all Good Grief Moncrieff, a summer schedule chat show that every week featured the most uninteresting guests in the history of light entertainment. Moncrieff made the best of this by injecting each episode with his mildly anarchic sense of humour. Nonetheless, he clearly hated doing it.

The thing is, all of this, and I mean every second of televised badness (except O’Connor, obviously) can be forgiven due to Moncrieff’s first foray into television. The End was the kind show that was so fresh and original it was hard to believe it was on RTE, expect of course when they would ironically point out their own shittiness due to being an RTE product. For those who don’t remember, The End was a mid-nineties show that basically was last thing broadcasted on RTE 2 before end of transmission on Saturday nights (there was also a more cerebral Friday night offering hosted by Barry Murphy). Because it was on at a time when normal people were either in bed or out having a life, Moncrieff and co knew they could get away with doing whatever they liked, and frequently…well, frequently didn’t bother. They could get away with that too. One highlight I recalled was when the producer put the entire show on Buy and Sell for a laugh, only for it to be bought by a crazed Australian. It was the kind of enforced wackiness that Saturday morning kids’ shows are known for, except it was for adults and for some reason it worked.

So that’s it. I quite like Sean Moncreiff and if you haven’t given him a listen I suggest you do. He’s also a known as a talented writer, with a couple of novels under his belt. I can’t comment on this as I haven’t read his stuff. I can say, however, that this is one more thing that makes him better than Ray D’arcy.

07
Jan
09

So Bev was kicked out of Fianna Fail and this was somehow the taxpayer’s fault: UPDATED

My dole payment today was significantly less than usual. This is because I told the social welfare office that I’d been working over Christmas serving people I hate in an environment that suggests Marx was right. Actually, I didn’t have the nerve to mention the Marx stuff. I just told them I’d been working so my payments should be docked accordingly. I’m pretty sure I would have gotten away with it, but I figured I was better off being honest. The apprehension about getting caught would have been just too annoying, and I was starting to feel guilty every time I heard Cowan or Lenihan utter the words “significant exchequer shortfalls”.

It is exactly this reason that I’m in a boiling rage over Cooper-Flynn and her latest bullshit. She’s claiming a €41,000 annual benefit offered to independent TDs, even thought she’s a fully fledged Fianna Fail member. She can apparently do this because she was an independent when elected, having only rejoined the republican party’s ranks in 2008. The law clearly states that she’s still entitled to the money. So a loophole it be, like the kind she was good at finding when she was at National Irish Bank.

As of now, Cooper Flynn “earns” a €106,581 salary, as well as the numerous expences that TDs can avail of. On top of this she is somehow entitled to a tax-free €41,000 every year until the Dail ends in 2012 (or perhaps sooner than that, if this kind shit continues) for being something she actually isn’t. This is exactly the kind of doublethink that Orwell warned us about.

So what’s Flynn’s justification for this. According to The Irish Times, she told Midwest Radio, “prior to the last election I was elected as a Fianna Fáil TD. I found myself outside Fianna Fáil after the first year and spent the following four years as an Independent. In that particular case I did not receive the Independent allowance despite the fact that I did not have the support of the party structure and had the additional expenses that all Independent deputies have.” This might seem fair enough, except that during those years the country wasn’t facing a recession (which, incidentally, her party let happen) and the government wasn’t demanding cutbacks in every aspect of public spending.

Later this year the government will try to convince us to say yes to something we already rejected. This is a government that is already far more unpopular than it was during the last Lisbon referendum, due largely to the economy. And yet this woman is still banging on about what she’s “entitled” to. Of course we really shouldn’t expect Cooper-Flynn to be concerned with bigger pictures. She, like her similarly scummy father, is an old breed of Fianna Failer, in it for what they can get out of it. Let us not forget why she was expelled from the party in the first place. Now, when you think about it, she actually expects us to pay for this

It takes a particular nasty streak of greed to be Beverly Cooper-Flynn. I’m sorry to sound like an Evening Herald headline but it just so happans that occasionally they’re right. I could give you other examples of her greed related to me by my Mayo sources, but unlike RTE I can’t prove these and she would probably be successful in her libal claim against me. Nonetheless, she is clearly a self-interested bitch who’s only damaging her party and her govenment by being a part of it. The only way Fianna Fail can fix this one is if they once again make Bev a legitimate recipient of an independent TD’s allowance.

EDIT:
She finally buckled. I suppose it was inevitable, really. Still, I can’t help but wonder what it was that did it. I mean, yesterday she was adamant she was entitled to the allowance. Yet today, after a wee word with Cowen, she’s giving it up. What exactly did he say? Somehow, I doubt the word “please” was involved.

Apparantly she was “deeply hurt by some of the media comments that portrayed her as being dishonest”. I don’t doubt it. No matter how dishonest these fuckers really are, they still seem to expect universal awe for some reason. I know it’s unlikely, but I really, really hope that my post was one of the media comments that upset her so. Bitch!

I also had to laugh at the “used to benefit my constituents” remark, How exactly? Did she run around Mayo giving away the money to strangers? One must assume they’re the ones losing out now that the money is gone. No point in worrying about it too much though. It’s just more doublethink.